This is a guest blog post by Lisa Eaton Wright, RD
I, too, was in San Diego in late September for the American Dietetic Association’s Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo (FNCE). I was excited and energized by all things FNCE and couldn’t stop Tweeting about it. Apparently, I was the top Tweeter at FNCE! I am a registered dietitian/nutritionist. And before I married “Mr. Wright,” I was Lisa Eaton. Now I’m Lisa Eaton Wright – destined for the nutrition field, no?!
I am using this guest blog post opportunity to share my thoughts/opinions on my professional association with ADA and various criticisms I heard while at FNCE. I am not seeking consensus here, just an open mind to my personal perspective.
ADA Membership: There are over 70,000 members, and over 7000 of them attended FNCE. I met many creative, hard working, and passionate people. For me, the value of membership lies with networking opportunities and resources offered through conferences, dietetic practice groups, listservs, etc. My peers have been immeasurably helpful to me as I’ve navigated my first year of practice. What I know: There is inherent value in ADA membership – and I choose to tap in to that.
ADA Name Change: A name change by the Association has been under consideration for years. Many folks wanted it, many did not. But the fact remains that there is now a new name: Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics. What I know: That decision was not made in a vacuum. My peers spent many hours looking at options, considering different variations. I participated in a survey regarding the name change. I know they used that data in coming to a decision. Might I suggest you say the letters A-N-D as opposed to saying it as the word “and” if you’re averse to the new acronym. To use my favorite saying, “It is what it is.”
ADA Corporate Sponsorship: There were some outspoken critics of corporate sponsorship. I took the time to introduce myself to a couple of them. I also expressed to them that I appreciate their points of view, even though I have my own that don’t necessarily match theirs. In my patients’/clients’ nutrition world, those big food corporations exist in their lives on a daily basis. I am meeting them where they are, helping them make choices so they can make steps toward a more healthy lifestyle. What I know: I am okay with BIG food at FNCE. And I’m okay with the fact that some of you are not.
For the critics: Question and scrutinize, but there’s no need to be “snarky,” (term borrowed from a fellow nutrition blogger). As professionals, we need to keep an open dialogue that’s respectful of differing opinions and work toward a solution. Hemi, you closed a recent post with, “and to its many wonderful members we wish success in their important mission.” I want to thank you for that. Our mission is important. Challenging? Yes. Worth it? Absolutely!
I am Eaton Wright. And I am ADA (soon to be A-N-D)!
Eaton Wright doesn’t have to be complicated! As a registered dietitian/licensed nutritionist, I know that eating healthy doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing approach – I motivate clients by meeting them where they are and coach them toward a healthier lifestyle!